Editing Pet Peeves

In my work, I get to edit a lot of stuff. I’m also blessed to have a great editor who edits my own work, since we are often blind to our own mistakes. I’m no master of the English language. My grandmother was the family English grammarian!

But I do have two pet peeves that drive me nuts, and if you write for me (you know who you are) I’ve probably nagged you about these two.

  1. Double spaces after punctuation.
  2. Punctuation after quotation marks.

The first is a left-over from type writers which I think have been gone for quite awhile. Type writers had small spaces and folks back then needed to hit the space bar twice to make a single space that looked the same width as the characters. You can read all about the history here if you like: Space Invaders.

The second is simply good grammar. It was taught in grade school. Learn it.

Why am I bringing this up now? As I was driving across this Great Land of America I stopped at a rest area and was surprised to see that a government sponsored ‘monument’ broke both my pet peeves. I wondered what processes were in place for editing? Who approved these metal signs?

(Click to view full size.)

(Click to view full size.)

At first I saw the double space (yellow circles) and thought, well, maybe that is just the full justification at work. But then, there it was at the bottom where there is no right justification. I suppose this huge metal relief sign was made on a type writer? Then worse, is the period out side the quotation marks. Fine. I guess they just don’t know their grammar. But it got worse on the other side.

(Click to view full size.)

(Click to view full size.)

For on the other side, they couldn’t make up their mind. First the writer does it wrong (yellow circle like the other side) then goes ahead and does it correctly at the end. (green circle.)Oh, well. It does say at the bottom it was erected in 1967. So I supposed some the preparation work was actually done on a type writer at some point, so that will excuse the double spaces. But is it one typo? (green circle) Or three? (yellow circles)I’m so glad I have an editor before anything of mine is put in metal! At least no one signed their name to it.

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